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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Gadsby's Tavern Museum
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Page updated Nov 2, 2015 3:07 PM

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Historic Ice Well

The City of Alexandria is fortunate to count Gadsby's Tavern's ca. 1793 commercial size ice well as part of its historic properties.

The history of Gadsby's Tavern is, at its core, a story of American commerce and entrepreneurship.  Community leaders, including those of the fledgling national government, met at Gadsby's to conduct business and discuss the news of the day that arrived via ship in the busy port of Alexandria. Large, community celebratory events hosting America's first six Presidents occurred at the tavern, including George Washington's Birthnight Celebrations and Thomas Jefferson's 1801 Inaugural Banquet.  As travelers ventured to the new Federal City, Gadsby's Tavern set the standard for the nation's emerging hospitality industry.  One example of this was the subterranean ice well, built underneath the corner of Royal and Cameron Streets during the City Tavern's construction.

Gadsby's Tavern Historic image 

Ice Well History

Learn about the history of the ice well and its importance to Alexandria's early hospitality industry.


Ice Well Restoration Project 

Learn about the award winning Ice Well Restoration Project.

Ice Well inside image  


The restoration of the Ice Well might be complete, but the project has not yet met its fundraising goals. Your charitable donation will help the Museum fulfill its commitment!

Ice Well webcam image 

Ice Melt Contest (February 18 - April 9, 2011)

Using 18th-century ice preservation techniques, 6,300 pounds of ice melted inside the historic ice well during the Museum's Ice Melt Contest in 2011.  Through photographs, see the transformation from ice mound to nothing! This contest and event would not have been possible without the generous support from the local community. 

Gadsby's Tavern Museum
134 N. Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Fax: 703.838.4270

Tour Hours:
November to March:
Wednesday - Saturday
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday and Tuesday, Closed
Last tour at 3:45 p.m.

April to October:
Tuesday - Saturday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday and Monday
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Last tour at 4:45 p.m.

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
by appointment